As a parent of two children in Heaven, anytime I hear their names,my heart skips a beat.
I was busy doing dishes as my daughter was admiring my decorated Christmas cookies. She began naming off the cookies, “There’s a Christmas tree. There’s a gingerbread man. There’s an ornament.” I was only half-listening, but it’s what she said next that took my breath away.
“And there’s Parker,” my daughter recited.
She continued announcing the cookie shapes when I stopped her to ask about her triplet brother who died just two months after they were born.
“Mommy, he’s the angel!” my child proudly announced.
As I looked at the plate of cookies, sure enough, there was a cookie angel I had decorated. I smiled at my daughter as my eyes welled up with tears.
Whether you’ve lost a child, a parent, or any loved one, the holidays are a difficult time of year. It’s hard to be full of joy when there is a sense of emptiness filling your heart. But as the years go by, I find moments like this one that bring me happiness and peace.
It’s been more than five years since I lost two of my triplets and I’ve realized that it’s OK to be happy. For a long time, I felt guilty smiling or laughing, knowing that my heart will forever be broken with grief.
And while life moves forward, those of us grieving parents never forget our children who are no longer here.
But as the holiday season arrives, I no longer dread the holiday parties and traditions, Instead, I try to picture happiness among the sadness.I imagine my children, Parker and Abby, dancing in our daughter’s dreams and I think of our angels on Christmas morning, celebrating with us in spirit.
After wiping away my tears, I sat down at the kitchen table with my daughter. I handed her the angel cookie and told her that Parker is always with us.
She smiled as she took a bite and said, “I know Mommy. Parker and Abby are in Heaven, making sure we have the best day ever.”
They may not be in our arms, but our two children are always with us during the holiday season, and every day of our lives.